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I read your article “Hiding in Plain Sight” (6/16) with great interest. It was a necessary article. As you stated, obesity is a very complex social and political issue. Food, like drugs and alcohol, is a ready painkiller. It momentarily provides comfort, nurturance, entertainment, detachment from uncomfortable feelings, and protection from intimacy with oneself and others.

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For what it may be worth, as an expressive arts therapist who works with minority youth, I have been using creative outlets to help obese youth express what is trapped inside of them. The pain and complexity of obesity are difficult for youth to put into spoken words; art, music, journaling, and poetry express it so much better. Although far from a quick fix, creative arts are powerful modalities for helping youth express and transform the emotional crisis of obesity. Allowing whatever is going on inside of them to surface and be externalized through painting for process (rather than for product), journal-keeping, drumming, or writing poetry from the rhythm of their hearts (concentrating on content rather than meter) can provide a way for them to retreat and find relief from their obesity crisis; to indirectly express and sort out feelings; to positively nurture mind, body, and spirit; and thus to be more present with their lives.

Silver Spring, Md.